Wednesday Night Dart Night. Single and in my early thirties, a friend who had experienced my competitive nature and lived to tell the tale suggested Dart League at the local Irish Pub could be a fun place to meet men. While I did love the idea of throwing sharp pointy things, I remained dubious. Meeting men in a bar sounded so… meeting men in a bar. But I was tired of drinking café lattes at Starbucks alone with a good book while not-so-secretly trolling for sensitive types. (sorry, “girl alone with book at Starbucks,” we all know what you’re doing).
I agreed to go.
From the moment I stepped into that bar, I couldn’t take my eyes off of HIM. I knew the tall, brown-haired guy talking to the blonde with the impossible tits was THE ONE FOR ME.
Him, or the guy in the back who looked like Pierce Brosnan. A soft spot in my heart for Remington Steele opened that small window of possibility.
Remington stood surrounded by an entourage of enraptured beta-men, spinning the tale of his latest conquest. His night of passion had ended with the girl requesting an escort home. He refused.
“But it’s dangerous out there!” she told him.
Remington opened the kitchen drawer, found a knife, handed it to her, mumbled “There you go” and shuffled back to bed.
The entourage erupted into laughter.
“Stranger Danger” bells ringing in my head, I removed Remington from the running.
The players gathered to pick Dart Night teams. Bribing the guy in charge to team me with The One proved impossible. On the upside, “Tits” had left the building. I heaved a sigh of relief. Against that girl, my breasts were like bringing marbles to an A-Bomb fight. And we’re not talking Little Boy. We’re talking Fat Man.
Teamed with one of the better players (much to his chagrin) and not the object of my desire (much to my chagrin) I had a fantastic evening drinking vodka and sodas with a splash of cranberry. I tried to explain the irresistible pull of The One. Tall, clean, thin; he was definitely my type. He even had blue eyes and beguiling lips capped on one side by a hybrid dimple/laugh line. Sure, if I was going to build him like a car online, I probably would have thinned out his nose and sharpened his jaw, but that was getting really picky. He was also in his early thirties hanging out in a bar playing darts, but I couldn’t really complain too much about that thanks to the whole “glass houses” thing.
Physically, it was easy to see why I was attracted to him. The confusing part was why I had the sort of feelings for him that usually came after I actually SPOKE to someone and recognized a kindred spirit.
I awoke the next morning consumed with how that blue-eyed devil had stolen my heart, vowing to return to the scene of the crime. First, I washed my sheets, hair, clothes and coat because EVERYTHING smelled like smoke. At least when you came back from trolling at Starbucks you smelled like coffee and jazz CDs.
I spent the rest of the day planning my outfit, my hair, my banter. I returned to the pub at the crack of happy hour to find it empty but for two people: a bleach blonde guy and The One. Luck? Fate? Stalker intuition? Something had brought us back together. Vodka, perhaps.
I spent the next few hours talking with The One while the other guy did his best to pull my eyes towards him. He didn’t know he was fighting destiny, poor thing.
The One was funny! He seemed nice! He was a Sagittarius like me! We had instant rapport. And what a coincidence that we should meet again the next day!
As the rest of the dart crowd rolled in, I quietly blended in with the others. After all, I wanted him to like me, not file a restraining order.
The next day, after another morning of de-smoking and primping, I made my way to the furniture store The One managed, hardly even disappointed that he hadn’t turned out to be an award-winning playwright or Internet mogul.
I entered the store. The One looked up from his desk. His face twitched with recognition. At the last minute, I decided not to buy a convertible sofa and just cut to the chase.
“I was wondering if, I dunno, maybe sometime you’d be interested in going to lunch?”
Our eyes locked, my stomach crawled into my throat, and I stood there for something like three or four days.
“Oh,” he said. “I can’t. I have a girlfriend.”
Realizing someone was going to have to pull out the paddles if I didn’t resume breathing, I released a shaky sigh. Awkward smiling and hands flailing, I explained it was no biggie sorry to have bothered you see you at darts nice place you have here ok well I guess I better get back to work bye!
I turned to scurry out of the store, my face as red as the throw pillows on the $999 pullout couch behind me.
That’s when The One called out to me.
“Don’t forget me!”
I froze. My head swiveled and I blinked at him.
Did he just say, “Don’t forget me?”
Who says that?
“Um, ok,” I said, and headed back to my car, my heart hopeful.
I didn’t forget him.
We’ll be married seven years next October.